Bus operators in DOTr’s free ride program belie claims of limited ops; assure weekly pay for drivers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 13, 2021   •   218

MANILA, Philippines — The consortium of bus operators plying the EDSA Busway system has released a statement belying claims that bus companies participating in the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) free ride program have limited their operations due to non-payment by the government.

The Mega Manila Consortium Corporation (MMCC) assured that their drivers are being paid weekly by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The MMCC also gave clarification to the issue of long lines of passengers waiting for the buses.

The consortium said that according to their member operators, “the long lines of passengers are brought about by the limited passenger capacity on deployed buses as mandated by health protocols to stem the spread of COVID-19 and because many MRT-3 passengers would rather wait in line to avail of our free bus rides.”

On its Facebook post, the DOTr noted the MMCC’s support for its initiative.

“The MMCC likewise reiterated their unequivocal support and commitment to the initiative of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTFRB in providing for the transport needs of the commuter amid the prevailing quarantine measures and protocols that are in place, specifically in the affected area of NCR plus,” the DOTs said.

“We are fully supportive of this endeavor of the DOTr as this will be for the benefit and convenience of the public at this time of the pandemic,” the MMCC statement read.

“We understand how integral our role is in making sure that people who need to travel for work or for serving as frontliners have access to public transport and will continue to work with both the government as well as other stakeholders of NCR to ensure the riding public’s interest is given the highest priority,” the MMCC added.

Meanwhile, bus conductors who collect fees during free bus ride operations will be facing sanctions and will be removed from participating in the free bus ride program. AAC

DOTr, LTFRB address concerns over long queues at MRT, EDSA Carousel Stations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said they have taken steps to address the long queues in MRT-3 stations and in EDSA Carousel Stations.

In a Facebook post, the DOTr explained that the long lines were prompted by the heavy rain on Friday (June 11).

Vehicular accidents were also reported which contributed to an unusual traffic build-up. The department also noted that waiting time and queuing  are inevitable especially during rush hour or weekend.

“Lines of commuters at the MRT-3 Ortigas and Ayala stations that Friday night were in normal condition. The commuters in the photos lined-up to board buses at the EDSA Carousel stations, which are also located at the said MRT-3 stations,” the DOTr said.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered the DOTr Road Sector and the LTFRB to implement protocols to avoid long queues. This includes adding more transport marshals, requesting EDSA Busway Consortium to deploy the maximum number of authorized bus units, and deploy more “rescue skip buses” to congested EDSA Bus Stops to pick up passengers especially during rush hours.

Meanwhile, the DOTr Road Sector, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and local government units (LGUs) concerned shall likewise meet and further discuss various measures to prevent traffic congestion that affect the operation of the EDSA Busway. AAC

LTFRB reiterates responsibility of bus firms to pay employees’ salaries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reiterated the responsibility of bus firms to pay the salaries of their employees.

During a public briefing on Wednesday (June 9), LTFRB Executive Director Joel Bolano said the agency is open to helping  drivers coordinate with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to raise their concerns.

“Iyon pong mga konduktor po natin ay kailangan bayaran para sa kanilang serbisyo. At kung sakali pong may displacement sa kanilang kumpanya pwede po sila i-refer sa DOLE para sa ibang hanaybuhay na pwedeng pasukan,” he said.

(Our conductors should be paid for their service. In case they are displaced by the company, we can refer them to DOLE for other job opportunities.)

A protest was staged on Monday (June 7) by several drivers and conductors, from various bus firms, calling for the release of their salaries. They said the release of their salaries has been delayed for months. AAC



LTFRB to continue service contracting program until December if Bayanihan program extends

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—  The Service Contracting Program of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) could continue until December if the national government’s Bayanihan program will be further extended.

“Iyong Bayanihan Act natin hanggang June 30, unless po na ito ay ma-extend. Pero dahil po mayroon tayong tinatawag na payout, mayroon po kaming proposed target na at least hanggang June 15 ang cut-off natin para ma-liquidate ang mga babayaran natin. Ngunit kung ito po ay ma-extend, baka tuloy-tuloy po ito hanggang sa December po kung sakaling ma-extend po ang atin Bayanhihan Act,” LTFRB Executive Director Joel Bolano said

(The Bayanihan Act is extended until June 30, unless it will be extended. But we have, what we call, payouts and we have a proposed target to liquidate our dues until June 15. But if the Bayanihan Act will be extended, we can continue the program until December)

The Service Contracting Program was launched by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTFRB provides payouts and incentives to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers.

As of June 4, a total of 13,363 drivers are receiving a P4,000 weekly payout while 6,794 drivers have already received their P25,000 onboarding incentive. Bolano also said interested drivers can still register for the program www.servicecontracting.ph.

The program also provides free rides to Authorized Person Outside Residence (APOR) and health workers. AAC


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